What's the best way to uninvite someone from lunch?

Scenario: You ask your friend if he wants to go for lunch and he agrees. A coworker you do not like overhears your lunch plans and asks if he can go with you. What is the most diplomatic way of going to lunch without him?

I’ve asked around about this and the most common solution seems to be to make covert lunch plans via text messaging and sneaking out of the office.

Is there a better way?

Is this friend a coworker too? Because if not, then you can just say to the coworker, “Me and X really wanted to catch up on some outside work business.”

If not, you can still say something like, “We wanted to meet up and talk about some personal stuff. Maybe you could join us next time?” And be sure never to be caught again.

When you come back, don’t talk about how much fun you had and what a wonderful time it was. if asked “How was lunch?” Just smile and say “Fine.” And don’t go into details. Whatever your private talk was, is just that.

Tell him that you actually are going through a tough personal crisis and needed to have lunch with your other friend alone.

The above is good advice. I was going to say: “Hire a ninja to kidnap your coworker during the time you were having lunch, and then release him back into the wild.” The other advice is better.

Keep the ninja on standby though. Hey, can I borrow your ninja this weekend?

“Actually, neither of us enjoy your company”.

ETA: oops. Not diplomatic. Honest and permanently solves the situation, though.

“And we’re gonna spend the entire time talking about you.”

Solves that situation, but quite likely causes other problems.

Sorry, I usually just use NinjaTemps.

I want my own pet ninja, too, and sometimes I’d like to tell my coworkers, “Could you butt out, please? No one invited you.” But I don’t the reputation of being a total bitch around the office, and while the coworker inviting himself is clearly in the wrong, it’s better to handle it diplomatically.

Nailed it in 1.

I think I am putting Anaamika on my “I need some advice from an intelligent person list.” She’s also conveniently at the top, alphabetically.

Slip your cell phone into unwanted person’s purse or jacket or briefcase, then don’t show up for lunch. When they return tell them you lost your cell phone and couldn’t call to tell them you’d wouldn’t be there, and now you are in a panic because you can’t find the phone anywhere. Have someone call your phone to see if you can hear it ring. You’ll hear the ring and then loudly accuse the unwanted colleague of stealing your phone. By the time that settles down the broken lunch date will be forgotten.

“Confess” to your coworker that you and your friend are having a secret romance, and that you’re actually going out to get some quick private time somewhere (wink wink nudge nudge). That should take care of any future inquiries.

Of course, if you ever invite some other third friend to lunch, you might have to explain to your unwanted coworker about polyamory…

There is no need for fake dramatics. Just say, “next time maybe.” I’m catching up with an old friend today.

: blush :

(You know, every time someone says I am intelligent or calm or rational, I think - when the fuck did that happen? :smiley: )

Exactly. Quick and easy, and not dishonest.

What’s the best way to uninvite someone from lunch?

Strikes me as not exactly the right question, in that this person wasn’t invited in the first place. Nevertheless, I agree that Anaamika’s suggestions are sound.

If the third person was actually invited, there is no way to politely uninvite him. If, however, he just asked if he could join you, it is perfectly permissible to say “no”.

Yeah. I wouldn’t say “maybe next time” if you don’t actually mean it, either. Just “No, sorry.” with no other explanation.

If you provide a reason, then they can be tempted to show how it doesn’t apply to them.

Is that a Robert (chop-you-in) Half company?